Friday, March 11, 2011

Milking Time

Milk-Maid  Myles Birket Foster
 The Milkmaid 
by Thomas Hardy
Under a daisied bank
There stands a rich red ruminating cow,
And hard against her flank
A cotton-hooded milkmaid bends her brow.

The flowery river-ooze
Upheaves and falls; the milk purrs in the pail;
Few pilgrims but would choose
The peace of such a life in such a vale.

The maid breathes words--to vent,
It seems, her sense of Nature's scenery,
Of whose life, sentiment,
And essence, very part itself is she.

She bends a glance of pain,
And, at a moment, lets escape a tear;
Is it that passing train,
Whose alien whirr offends her country ear? -

Nay! Phyllis does not dwell
On visual and familiar things like these;
What moves her is the spell
Of inner themes and inner poetries:

Could but by Sunday morn
Her gay new gown come, meads might dry to dun,
Trains shriek till ears were torn,
If Fred would not prefer that Other One.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Might I Have a Bit of Earth?

.A Cottage Near Brook  Helen Allingham
Ode on Solitude
By Alexander Pope
Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.

Blest, who can unconcernedly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,

Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
Together mixed; sweet recreation;
And innocence, which most does please,
With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Echoes of the Past

Alnwick Castle at Northumberland  Canaletto
 The Splendor Falls on Castle Walls
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson 
The splendor falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story;
The long light shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying. dying, dying.

O, hark, O, hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O, sweet and far from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field or river;
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow for ever and for ever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Selma, Alabama, 1965

Confrontation at the Bridge  Jacob Lawrence
by Langston Hughes
Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right 
As the other fellow has
To stand
On my two feet 
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say, 
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I'm dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow's bread.

Is a strong seed
In a great need.

I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Daytime and Nighttime Images of Dover

Dover 3  William Daniell
 From Dover Beach
by Matthew Arnold
The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

She's Real to Me

Doctor and the Doll  Norman Rockwell
Bessie's Song to her Doll
by Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson)
Matilda Jane, you never look 
At any toy or picture-book. 
I show you pretty things in vain-- 
You must be blind, Matilda Jane! 

I ask you riddles, tell you tales, 
But all our conversation fails. 
You never answer me again-- 
I fear you're dumb, Matilda Jane! 

Matilda darling, when I call, 
You never seem to hear at all. 
I shout with all my might and main-- 
But you're so deaf, Matilda Jane! 

Matilda Jane, you needn't mind, 
For, though you're deaf and dumb and blind, 
There's some one loves you, it is plain-- 
And that is me, Matilda Jane!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Baby's Dreamland

A Little Girl Rocking a Cradle  Nicolaes Maes
Sleep, Baby, Sleep
A German Poem

Sleep, baby, sleep!
Thy father watches his sheep;
Thy mother is shaking the dreamland tree,
And down falls a little dream on thee.
Sleep, baby, sleep!

Sleep, baby, sleep!
The large stars are the sheep;
The little stars are the lambs I guess;
And the bright moon is the shepherdess.
Sleep, baby, sleep!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Who, Who, Who's There?

Snowy Owl   John James Audubon
The Owl
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

When cats run home and light is come,
And dew is cold upon the ground,
And the far-off stream is dumb,
And the whirring sail goes round,
And the whirring sail goes round;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

When merry milkmaids click the latch,
And rarely smells the new-mown hay,
And the cock hath sun beneath the thatch
Twice or thrice his roundelay,
Twice or thrice his roundelay;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.